Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Road Not Taken

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“The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost is a poem that exemplifies life’s choices. The poem details a traveler as he travels down a road. The road is a metaphor for life, where the traveler is faced with a choice both figuratively and literally, when he comes upon a fork in the road. Each road in the fork symbolizes his life’s potential outcomes if he chooses to venture down that path.


In this poem, Frost the narrator uses the first person point of view. The rhyme scheme appears to be ABAB. Frost uses informal diction, and the first line begins with a vague reference to the opening of Dante’s Inferno, while the entire first stanza establishes the prelude to his decision making process by checking out the roads, one grassy and one worn.


Frost is faced with a choice. Should he proceed down the road that is “grassy and wanted wear”, referring to the claim that no one had walked down the path in some time or walk the path that seemed well trodden. He considered his choices in the third stanza stating “And both that morning (each path) equally lay, in leaves no step had trodden black”, indicating that no one had ventured down either path that day. After considering his options he decided on the grassy road, his rationale being that it was a “better claim” for his choice, with the thought the he would always have the opportunity go back and travel down the other. Both roads held strong


appeal for the poet, this can be seen in this quote in the third line of the third stanza “oh, I kept the first for another day!” This quote is a rationalization for what the poet would like to do but never believes he will do. He realizes that in life your intentions don’t invariably match your actions taking into account that “way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.”


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The first line of the last stanza reveals to the reader “I shall be telling this with a sigh.” Frost’s sigh can be understood as an ambiguous expression. It is difficult to discern if Frost is looking back without regrets. The last three lines in poem “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I � I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”; it is unclear as to whether the “difference” in taking the road less travel by has proven beneficial or not. This poem uses the road as a concrete object to show the abstract symbol of the path his life took. Yet the question still remains What would his life have been like if he’d had the opportunity to travel the alternate path? Frost leaves us with an open ending, leaving the interpretation to the reader.


My personal opinion is that he does not regret his choice, that the “difference” that his choice in taking the road less travel by has proved to be worthwhile, gratifying and personally meaningful.


When I think about the symbolism that is used in this poem I think about it from a biblical point of view. The bible speaks of two roads, the road to destruction and the road to everlasting life. The road to destruction is wide and worn; however, the road to everlasting life is grassy and less worn because most have chosen to take the road to destruction unaware of the consequences that lie before them.


As children our parents do their best to point us in the right direction in life. They say things like “do what I say and not what I do”. However, most people grow up living by example instead of in accordance to their parent’s words of wisdom.





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